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The Corvallis School Board has four open positions open in the May 21 election, and only one candidate registered for each position. Each position is for a four-year term on the board.

Two of the candidates are current school board members running for reelection, Sarah Finger McDonald, elected to the board in 2017 and Terese Jones, who was appointed to the board in 2017. Two new candidates, Brandy Fortson and Tina Baker, are also running.

Below is an overview about the candidates:

Position 2

Name: Tina Baker

Occupation: Parent, community volunteer

Age: 44

Q: What you would like to accomplish on the board?

A: I am a lifelong Corvallis resident. My two grown children attended Corvallis schools and my youngest is currently in middle school. As a parent I have advocated for accessible classrooms, programs and extracurricular activities. I am committed to our community and the families in our district. I believe families deserve equitable solutions to the challenges of today.

This is why I am in support of access to mental health services, equity and accessibility, and sustainable practices.

Over the next four years I would like to address:

• The need for mental health support within the Corvallis School District. By investing in our children’s mental health, we will also be supporting our teachers, staff, and families.

• Identifying and implementing equitable solutions to issues like accessibility while collaboratively working towards addressing systemic barriers that many of our students and their families face.

• Ensure ways the district can increase sustainable practices, both in terms of our environment as well as our budgets.

Position 3

Name: Terese Jones

Occupation: Faculty at Linn-Benton Community College and a doctoral student at Oregon State University, studying human development and family sciences.

Age: 40

Q: What you would like to accomplish on the board?

A: It is a privilege to serve this community, where student learning is highly valued and widely supported.

My interest in serving on the school board is guided by my desire for every child to have a viable and attainable pathway to healthy and thriving development that support their ability to see and strive toward their best self.

As a member of the Corvallis school board, I am working to create a district that moves beyond closing the opportunity gap toward closing the outcomes gap. It is not enough to ensure opportunities if we do not also ensure that the barriers to opportunities are deconstructed through a deliberate and mindful approach.

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In the next four years, my primary interest is to see our district further the commitment to health and equity in all approaches to policy and administrative regulations, so that every policy and practice may answer directly, "How will this support healthy and thriving development for all of our students?"

I look forward to continuing this work alongside the many in Corvallis who share a desire to keep striving to realize our community's best self.

Position 6

Name: Brandy Fortson

Occupation: Precinct committee person for Benton County Democrats and co-chair/event planner for Heart of the Valley Democratic Socialists of America

Age: 32

Q: What you would like to accomplish on the board?

A: I’m Brandy Fortson and I am running for CSD 509J Position #6. I’m a queer nonbinary person and I’m so honored to bring this representation to the school board. Over the next four years I hope to see the Corvallis School District accomplish the following tasks:

• Implementing comprehensive and inclusive LBGTQ+ sexual education, including harm reduction and healthy relationships into our high school curriculum.

• Requiring districtwide education on utilizing proper pronouns and how that is beneficial for students' mental health, graduation and test score increases.

• Continuing to advocate and push for equity in all our school districts programs, policies, and teaching practices. In addition to pushing for equitable learning environments regardless of the socioeconomic location of the schools.

By advocating for growth and change within our school system we here in Corvallis can create an environment not only where our children attend school but where they thrive.

Position 7

Name: Sarah Finger McDonald

Occupation: Academic adviser, Oregon State University

Age: 47

Q: What you would like to accomplish on the board?

A: Our schools should be a place where all kids and families belong and thrive.

I have a lot of hope for our school district. We are headed in a good direction but we still have work to do. A year ago, voters approved a bond to fund school improvements. I want to make sure the voters' money is used responsibly and the projects are completed successfully.

Our board has set goals for the district around student achievement, equitable systems, real world learning, and health and wellness. I want to continue serving on the Corvallis School Board to work to achieve those goals.

Having strong public schools is good for kids and good for our community. I am running for a second term on the school board to be part of the essential job of educating our future voters, workers, and decision-makers.

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Anthony Rimel covers weekend events, education, courts and crime and can be reached at anthony.rimel@lee.net, 541-758-9526, or via Twitter @anthonyrimel.

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